How to Get Teens Interested in Career Exploration

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Get Teens Interested in Career Exploration. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

How to Get Teens Interested in Career Exploration

How to Get Teens Interested in Career Exploration

Teens have a lot of pressure on them:

  • Building a strong transcript for college, military and/or career
  • Developing strong adulting skills to help them live life successfully
  • Experiencing the things teens need as part of adolescent development:
    • Friendships
    • Field trips
    • Service
    • Community
    • Fun

However, it would be a shame for them to graduate from their wonderful homeschool high school and not have a clue about what careers or plans they need to have for the future. It is challenging how to figure out ways to help them prepare for a career.

So, let’s talk about how to get teens interested in Career Exploration!

Vicki always tells teens that it is not likely that they will know their entire future when they graduate high school. However, they will feel better if they have a clue about what comes next career-wise. After all, it is easier to turn a moving vehicle than a parked one. And it is easier to pivot career-orientation when they are working towards SOMETHING than it is to churn up some momentum if they are simply stuck.

On the other hand, we do not want to put too much pressure or too many guilt trips on them. It is a balance for us homeschooling parents!

Here are some tips to spark interest in Career Exploration

There’s not ONE right way to get teens oriented towards a career mindset. However, here are some ways to create a fertile environment for growth in that direction.

Build some extra enrichment into homeschooling high school

We know this can be a challenge for families with multiple kids and/or working parents. However, when you frame enrichment as experiences that help build lifelong bonds and healthy mindsets, it is easier to view the short-term busyness as long-term investment.

Enrichment that actually helps build a career-exploration orientation include:

Field trips for the family (co-op field trips count, too)

Plan for field trips to:

  • Favorite family locations
  • Brand-new places or events
  • Places or events that co-ordinate with History, Literature or Science class

The point of field trips is not to define a career at the moment. Rather, it is to get the creative and future-oriented parts of the brain activated. When we have too much routine, routine, routine, those parts of the brain do not work well. When that part of the brain does not work well, it is hard to imagine a future career and healthy lifestyle.

Not only that, but you can log all those hours for credit on the transcript. (Here is a post about logging hours for credit.)

Tips to remember about field trips:

  • Freebie events count!
  • It does not have to be interesting to be useful
    • (a rotten field trip gives teens something to talk about AND knocks that off the potential career list- both are valuable)

Watch movies about interesting people

Watching stories about people in different careers helps exercise the creative and future-oriented parts of the brain. This helps teens imagine and think about their own futures, even when they have no wish or talent to go into the career that is shown on the movie. This kind of enrichment is not only interesting but can be inspiring, also.

A few movies about people with various careers:

Not only that, but you can log all those hours for credit on the transcript. (Here is another post about logging Career Exploration hours for credit.)

Do volunteer work in various areas

Explore various one-off and long-period volunteer and service opportunities. Think about:

  • Joining the church worship teen
  • Helping with sound system or nursery at church
  • Give time at the local food bank or church food pantry
  • Visit folks at the local nursing home
  • Volunteer at a local ministry or non-profit
  • Join a local park clean-up day
  • Rake leaves or weed for the elderly folks nearby
  • Do repair work or babysit for single moms
  • Raising service dogs
  • More ideas in this interview about volunteer opportunities with Ticia Messing

Volunteering also helps exercise the creative and future-oriented parts of the brain! Not only that, but you can log all those service hours on the transcript. (Here is a post explaining how to record service on the transcript.)

When possible, arrange for teens to have a chat with various folks about different jobs

You can make this a formal part of Career Exploration credit on the transcript. (Remember to log the time.)

Give teens job descriptions for the various jobs you have had or had

At family gatherings, ask grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins for job descriptions (along with what they like and do not like about their jobs)

If there are friends or folks at church who are willing, ask for a fifteen-minute interview where they share their job descriptions (along with what they like and do not like about their jobs)

Be sure to have your teen write a thank you note and maybe take some cookies as a thank you!

Again, these are not locking teens into a career but giving them career experiences. These will help give teens a realistic look at the job-lifestyle.

Take a Career Exploration course

There are lots of them around. Of course, we are partial to 7Sisters Career Exploration Bundle where teens learn about the importance of their:

  • Life experiences
  • Role models
  • Gifts/talents
  • Values
  • Interests
  • Resources

Once teens get started on Career Exploration as a course, they often begin to get bought into getting interested and involved.

Find an apprenticeship

Apprenticeships look powerful on the transcript and give teens a solid look at a career interest. Some apprenticeships our teens have done:

Apprenticeships often eliminate job interests (which is a good idea) OR open doors for networking and building the next career experience.

Usually parents need to make apprenticeships happen: networking and arranging. This is because teens do not at first have the experience or interests on creating first job experiences. However, they often start taking on the next steps once they get started.

Take a course that counts as Career Exploration

For instance, if your homeschool high schooler is interested in Psychology, a Psych course counts as Career Exploration! Here’s a list of courses that count as Career Exploration.

Get more ideas is our 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group!

You can do this! Join Vicki for a discussion on how to get teens interested in Career Exploration.

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Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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